Monday, February 28, 2011

Recording Voice memos while Reading Audiobooks

When I'm listening to audiobooks (also when skiing) I'm also making notes using the iPhone's built-in voice memo application. It's a fantastic way to make sure no thought gets away and it hardly requires touching the iPhone thanks to the versatility of the iPhone's headphones and their built-in microphone switch. Here's how I do it:
First prepare the iPhone - move the Voice Memos app to separate screen

To make sure I don't click accidentally on a different app than the Voice memos app, I've moved it to a separate screen, it's really hard to miss it right now and click something else (see screenshot). Also if you're in the car and want to take notes, go to Settings and disable automatic lock of the iPhone screen.

Now, the entire note-taking process while listening to an audiobook

Step 1 - click on the remote - to pause listening.

When I'm listening to the audiobook and want to pause to take a note, I click on the remote button to stop the audio-reading process.

Step 2 - click on the Voice Memos app to launch it

This is the one time you'll have to tap on the iPhone's screen - to launch the Voice Memos app.

Step 3 - click on the remote - to start and stop recording the note

Yes, you can use the remote button to record a note... and click on the remote again to stop the recording. Easy-cheesy.

Step 4 - click on the home button to leave the Voice Memos app

Now you'll have to click on the iPhone's Home button to quit the note-taking app. Hard to miss that button, too.

Step 5 - click on the remote - to resume audio-reading

Again our trusty microphone-remote button can be used to resume listening to the audiobook. What would we have done without it?

Real-time usage - in a car while driving.

I listen to the audiobooks while driving and I put the right headphone into my right ear and thus have also my headphone microphone button handy right below my right ear. When I drive, I can listen to the audiobook, pause playback, record note and resume playback hardly looking at the iPhone's screen thanks to the extensive usage of the iPhone's microphone button. It's brilliant and very practical.

This way I've read the "Switch" book by Dan and Chip Heath on my way back from Ski holidays while on a 1000 mile drive home. The drive would have been a boring one... but with my audiobook it was really great.

How do you take notes when reading audiobooks?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Reading audiobooks and absorbing content

It's official - I love audiobooks. Back in March this year I was considering listening to audiobooks rather than buying physical or electronic books. I decided to go the audio route... and I "read" more than 20 books in the last 6 months... that's a stunning achievement of almost 4 books per month... that's one book per week!
Audio is a perfect solution for a slow reader

I speak really fast, I move really fast... but I read really slowly. I've never been a great reader anyway. I liked books but I liked other stuff, too, and somehow never had the time for books. But I wanted to read them, I got so many great recommendations for great books and I was frustrated to know I'd never have the time to read those.

"Made to Stick" convinced me to go the audio-route

I bought lots of books off Amazon and they stood there lonely on my shelves collecting dust. I chose "Made to Stick" as a book I wanted to read and took it with me on all my business travels to read it when on the go... and after a year I gave up. My wife would even laugh at me saying: "you're still carrying the same book with you?" When I bought the audio version, I read it in a week.

Audio works great when you move fast and drive a lot

I do move a lot. I like working from coffee-shops, I like driving. I like jogging. Now when I'm on the move I'm "reading" a book. I hardly listen to my music collection on my iPod anymore. I listen to books. And when I do, I feel I can digest the content better as my focus is not on the process of reading. I even read books while skiing :-)

Turbo - reading at twice the speed

To make matters even more interesting, my iPod app on the iPhone gives me an option to listen to stuff 2x speed and in most books I put it on. I'm used to speaking fast, so I have no problem understanding fast, too. And this way I can "digest" the book even faster.

From 1-2 books per year to close to 40

That's right. I used to read one to maximum two books per year. I know, that's sad but it's true. Now I've read more than 20 books in 6 months so it's totally do-able I'll get to 40 per year. Close to one book per week. For someone like me, it's s great achievement.

More book reviews coming to this blog

I'll be sharing more book reviews on this blog with you. They'll be more like book impressions than reviews, as extensive reviews can be read on Amazon, but I'd want to share more how a book inspired me or "touched" me if you dare.

You have no excuse to start reading more!

That's right. Start using Audiobooks and you'll be surprised how you can read more and more books and learn new great content this way. Adelante!

Did you ever try "reading" audiobooks? How did it go?

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh - audiobook of the week

Recent buzz about the shoe company called "Zappos" got to me as well. After I heard one of Tony's (Zappos CEO) speeches I decided to take up on his offer and downloaded a free audiobook Tribal Leadership, which I described in detail on this blog last year. When I heard of the new book by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, Delivering Happiness, I decided to buy it and listen to it myself.

Get this book on: Audible Amazon

Overall, it's not as great as the Tribal Leadership, but it's a good book as gave me great insights to several things:

1. The Story of Zappos

If you're not familiar with their story, now you will be - it's the integral part of this book and it's great to get to know how they made this online footwear store work.

2. The Story of Tony

You get to know his passions, his ideas and his path to Zappos and beyond. Why he ended up there and how he made it all happen. Even how we founded Linkexchange and sold it to Microsoft which was a great feat anyway.

3. Customer Happiness

Yes, he's showing you all the ways you can go to make your customer happy and believe me, it's all about customer happiness in the end. I know, I'm running an online business myself and I know how crucial it is to make the customer happy. Tony gives great insights of how this can be accomplished and covers them with great examples.

And a bonus - he also explains how to make the employees happy and how to create a company culture that is natural and is motivating for the employees. Everyone must be happy - the external as well as internal customers - I know - I have a small team but we're very happy and we love working together... and we're having a nice company meeting next Tuesday! :-)

I'm all for happiness

As you know, I'm running what others would call a "Lifestyle business" and I love it. I'm happy, my team is happy and my customers seem to be happy, too.

Even Jeff Bezos was very happy with Zappos - so much that he decided to buy them and to make sure Zappos would approve not only $1.2B buyout, he wanted to convince Zappos employees by recording this video - worth 8 minutes of your time - enjoy:

--> me I'm Michael Sliwinski and I'm an entrepreneur who's also the...
.. Founder of - a time and project management web application
.. Editor of Productive! Magazine - a global PDF publication on productivity
.. and a blogger as well as a producer of a weekly 2-minute Productive! show.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

"Reading" Audiobooks while doing sports -

Last week we went skiing with my wife, my brother and his fiancée. Great times. I love skiing - it's a great mixture of speed, fresh Alpine air, beautiful views, etc... and this time I added something else to the mix - I bought two audiobooks: Rework and Swtich and installed them on my iPhone... wondering if I manage to "read" them while skiing. The results surprised me:


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